Deanna: Biography

Short biog
Deanna is an international writer, performer and facilitator. She co-curates two leading spoken word events: Chill Pill and Come Rhyme With Me and is on the board of Safe Ground.
Commissions include: Under The Skin (St Paul’s Cathedral), Now We Are Here (Young Vic), Women Who Spit (BBC IPlayer) and Buckingham Palace (NYT).
Currently in development with EARTH: The Show (written with Gemma Rogers).

If you fancy some detail..

  • Accolades: ELLE UK’s ’30 inspirational women under 30′, The Female Lead’s ’20intheir20s’, Cosmopolitan’s ‘No.1 trailblazing woman’, youngest UK Poetry Slam Champion (2007/8)
  • Previous international trips include: Canada (British Council/Shakespeare lives), Beirut (Roundhouse), South Africa (Connect ZA and Roundhouse), Zimbabwe (British Council) and Sudan (British Council).
  • Teaches the Writing Poetry for Performance module with Benjamin Zephaniah at Brunel University.
  • Tutor at School of Communication Arts (‘The most successful ad school in the world’).
  • Chill Pill is a team made up of: Deanna, Raymond Antrobus, Adam Kammerling, Mr Gee and Simon Mole.
  • Come Rhyme With Me is the love child of Deanna  and Dean Atta
  • Member of prominent poetry collectives; Point Blank Poets (Biennale UK Artist International award 2011) (Other members are: Sabrina Mahfouz, Dean Atta, Hollie McNish, Bridget Minamore and Chimene Suleyman) and Keats House Poetry Forum.
  • Actor and a voice over artist.
  • Alter-ego called Tabitha Bangerss (Mash). She’s in SH!T S!CK: An all female punk band.


  • I’m really into talking about the universe, quantum philosophical-physics and writing stuff.
  • Would most like to collaborate with: Bjork and Margaret Atwood.
  • Firm believer of the power of unconditional love.

4 thoughts on “Deanna: Biography

  1. Hi Deanna,

    I’d like to use your poem “Being British” in my high school English class. Do you have the text published anywhere, or can you send it to me? The students will watch your YouTube video, then have a chance to look at the text before watching again. This is because we’re in Hawai’i, and I think they’ll need help understanding some of your references 🙂 Thanks so much for your beautiful work!

  2. Hi Deanna,
    I teach English in Norway and would love to use your poem, “Being British” in my upper secondary classes. Could you send me a transcript of it, or tell me where I can buy a copy?

    All the best,
    Kristin Måge Areklett
    Kristelig Gymnasium, Oslo

    1. Hello Kristin,
      Of course this is fine! I’ve posted below. Do let me know what the response is.



      Being British

      I always get asked
      ‘Where do you come from?’
      My repeated reply is 

      The town that sheltered a mother fleeing from war-torn land
      Baby in belly given chance to be a man
      A city of prosperity 
      She seeked jobs allowing her to keep her dignity, independently
      Living in a state
      NOT OFF IT.
      Her benefit, 
      One son
      A bright boy of renewable energy
      He knew all he’d ever be
      Was a product of the city that changed his destiny.’

      They say,
      ‘But what country’
      I breathe deeply,

      Swallowing sarcastic syllables and exhale,
      ‘Great Britain
      The island 
      Throned in seas that 
      Channelled safety 
      She carried men to defend 
      Country-sides scattered with towns full of factories.
      The curator of colonies
      Voiced view to keep view 
      Exploit used to heavily recruit 
      Natural war-likes
      To fight aggressively,
      With strength and bravery
      52 thousand casualties 
      Ghurkhas support
      Over two World Wars
      Nearly half a million fought for, 
      Great Britain.’
      I’m teasing them,

      Because although it’s not a lie 
      I know it’s not the desired response
      And so am not surprised when they reply
      ‘Where are your parents from?’

      See I can’t hide pigment skin within words
      Whether fact or fiction
      So I tell them
      I’m a product of miscegenation
      That my parent’s, parents are from Jamaica and Scotland
      They found love and made life in London
      To born and breed a British girl

      So while I’m an addict for hard food
      I fiend for the smell of “eggs an’ ba’on” in the morning
      I’m a sucker for a cuppa 
      And I’ll batter a fish and chips in less than 15 minutes,
      I was raised by the church and educated by Eastenders
      Friday nights of teenage life were spent going on drink benders
      I can’t pretend, cos

      All I know is GB
      And I suppose on paper that could quite possibly read as
      An ideal recruit in the BNP
      Wear my balaclava too high so my eyes can’t see
      The route of my journey to the RWB
      Ticket’s the qualifications on my CRB
      5 for hate crimes would get me VIP.

      But a face-to-face interview 
      Would refuse my application
      On the grounds of which I walk on are not my birth-right nation
      Profile is proof of racial integration 
      Defies the silent slogan of skin-based segregation
      And as the tick box of White/Caribbean is crossed
      My rights are wrong and I should politely get lost

      Pack bags, 
      Try find where I belong
      But before I’m forced to leave
      I’ll leave thoughts to ponder on
      Where do you, your parents and your ancestors come from?

      Deanna Rodger

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